• Life,  Marketing,  Writing

    Basic Marketing Tips for Authors (No. 4)

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    Today’s going to be all about Goodreads. Goodreads came on the scene in 2006 and is defined by Wikipedia as a “social cataloging” website that allows individuals to freely search its database of books, annotations, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists. Goodreads was intended to be superior to Amazon as far as ratings and reviews go, but alas, Amazon bought them in 2013.

    The good news is that Goodreads is free. You can set up an account, make friends, link to your other social media and website and, if you’re an author, create an author “dashboard” so readers can connect with you in that way. You can link your blog directly on the site, ask and answer questions, host give-aways, all the Things.

    Y’all, I’ve quit Goodreads three times, so I have a really difficult time getting down with this one. I have finally settled into the idea that I have to have Goodreads but that’s about it. I will respond to messages and whatnot, and every now and then I will list a book I’m reading and give it a star rating. I have given full reviews in the past, but I’m not doing that at this time. I no longer link my social media to it, mostly because not all my connections need to know I read ten pages of Whatever I Read (it got annoying).

    So, here’s my pitch. As an author, sign up for Goodreads and set up your author dashboard. Claim your titles. Do this because if you don’t, somebody else might and you will have lost control of your image, your titles, etc. While that doesn’t happen often, the mere thought of it makes me nauseous. At the very minimum, do that, and make sure you link to your website and use the same headshot or logo you use for everything else. When your new book comes out, go to the platform and claim it. If you want to do more, go for it. I’m not a fan.

    Here’s why. When I first joined in 2006, Goodreads was exactly what the founders wanted it to be: a way to keep track of your readings, make connections with others you either know, wanted to know, or with whom you have similar tastes, and find new authors to love. What it became, however, is something completely different, with no recourse for the author. You’ve heard horror stories about authors getting bashed on Amazon, and it happens on Goodreads, too. It basically makes everyone and their dog a book reviewer and not everyone takes that responsibility seriously. They think they do, but they don’t. The bottom line for an author is that you have no recourse, other than arguing on the platform, with a reader, to correct something that’s just not right. Meanwhile, it can wreck your star rating, which can affect your sales.

    So, am I using Goodreads to it’s greatest potential as a free tool? No. I’m not sure that’s possible but I encourage you to do what you can insofar as it is under your control. All that being said, you can find me on Goodreads HERE.

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  • Life,  Marketing,  Writing

    The Horrible Writing Podcast

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    I’ve been interviewed on live radio before. I’ve been a guest speaker in creative writing classes. I’ve even done a video interview with a colleague (and admit I have no idea what he did with the footage). But I have been listening to podcasts for a couple years (TNQ is my favorite: GOGGINS!) and I’ve toyed with the idea of doing my own (but that’s probably too extroverty for me), so when I saw the mind behind Horrible Writing was looking for guests, I jumped online and sent an email without overthinking things.

    I was advised not to listen to any previous podcasts but the gist is that, as writers, we encounter a slew of interruptions, detours and roadblocks–and hopefully how to overcome these kinds of obstacles. It’s like TNQ for writers. While I am by no means a NY Times Best-Selling Author…I haven’t given up and there are some things about me that make it interesting, including the MS diagnosis and navigating my husband’s year-long deployment.

    So I did it! Thanks to Paul Sating for having me on. It was fun–I’m episode 51 and will que up in late August.

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  • Life,  Marketing,  Writing

    Basic Marketing Tips for Authors (No. 3)

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    Today, I’m going to talk about free social media. As an author, with a nice headshot or logo, you can use all of these platforms for FREE:


    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Pinterest
    • Instagram
    • YouTube
    • Google+
    • Goodreads
    • Tumblr
    • LinkedIn
    • Spotify

    There are more, but unless you are a teenager, you may want to stick to the above listed social media sites. I’m going to go over each of them in some detail in the following weeks. I’d like you to keep in mind that this is how I use tools, so others may do different things with these sites.

    Okay, now that we have the list, I’m a little exhausted. TBH, if you tried to master and keep up with all these sites, you would’t have time to write. So my best advice is to choose the ones you like to use. That’s it. Each of these has good marketing ploys you can use to get yourself seen and your books bought, so choose the ones you understand well or use most often and start there.

    When you set up your author accounts on these FREE social media sites, use the headshot or logo that you use on your website. Choose a look and feel that mirrors that of your website so there is no mistake that this is yours (I’ll give you tools to create the right sized banners for every site). Often, you have the option not to launch the site (or keep it private) until you get the hang of it, invite others, follow others and all that jazz.

    This is what I tell everyone: you can’t break it, and there’s nothing you can do that can’t be undone. Go forth and play!

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  • Coffee,  Life

    Monday’s Mug

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    This mug is refillable! I’m at Industrious Nashville/Gulch this morning, getting some stuff done on the freelance gigs while DH is in his office here, meeting with clients. This is a cool place to work, with free coffee, bagels and such, and good places for lunch. Can you tell that food is important to me? Probably why I need to shed a few lbs. Anyway, I love the little bee on this cup–I have a notebook, pen and sticker with the same. A little impact marketing.

    What’s on the agenda this week? Spending a day with a client tomorrow, getting the floorplans for multiple projects with them. Create and edit a couple educational blog posts for a client and I’m currently listening to the Biceps & Business podcast. These guys are talking about the education system and how it’s failing students. I’m not shaking my head and one of these guys is pissed off, rightfully so. If you can take the language, here’s the link: Business & Biceps

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  • Coffee,  Life

    Monday’s Mug (on Wednesday)

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    So I’ve missed this a couple times, which figures. We knew this would happen, so I have a payoff today:

    My family is on it’s final Spring Break, visiting my husband’s daughter and her husband near Savannah, GA. There’s four of us, DH, The Boy, and The Boy’s GF, and she lurves some coffee. So I picked out this giant mug and filled ‘er up with the mocha latte of her choice, made by my DH.

    See, my bonus daughter used to work marketing for Blue Man Group in Orlando, last time we were there, she got us some tickets and really enjoyed the show. So not only is it functional for two cups of coffee (!) but brings back some fun memories as well.

    I’ll try to get back on schedule, but I might need a vacation from vacation 🙂

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  • Life,  Writing

    Camp NaNo Never

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    It’s tempting, truly. The idea that, for one whole month you (too) can focus on your writing and complete an entire first draft. There’s a certain common sense to it that makes you think I can do that–I can set aside every other thing in my life for a mere thirty days and give the words their life! I mean, I want to. I want to do that every day, TBH. Isn’t that the dream? So NaNoWriMo (and it’s devilish offshoots, like Camp NaNo) are basically telling you that you (too) can live your dream for a month. And you’ll love it so much you’ll never go back to your old normal.

    This is basically bullshit, kids. I mean, November? Where, at least in America, one of the biggest holidays on the calendar immediately threatens your NaNo plan. The lead-in to Christmas, the Most Commercial of All Holidays? No bueno. Even if that were the ONLY issue, it’s usually enough for me to pump the brakes. Then there’s other things, like jobs and kid’s school and sports and home ownership and oil changes that get in the way on a “normal” basis.

    And, maybe it’s just me, but can’t you see the guilt coming for you, like a bull charging down Main Street of a dusty western town? I can, and I ain’t signing up for that. It’s a catch-22. If I do it and fail, I feel guilty but if I don’t even try? In some neighborhoods, that’s even worse. I’m not down for a guilt-fest in any month, nor am I down for celebrating less than I should accomplish just because someone christened it NaNo month. Even if I don’t meet my goal, I get a gold star just for playing.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from listening to the pros, it’s that motivation is crap. Sure, you can get hyped up and maybe parlay that into an entire month of production. But discipline, real discipline and motivation are internal. You do or do not. And, because I’ve never been much for following a herd, I’m going to skip NaNo (and things like it) for oh, say, the rest of my life and simply focus on disciplining myself to meet my goals year round.

    After all, if you can write a book in a month, shouldn’t you be able to write twelve of them in a year? Yeah, I think I’ll just do me.

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  • Life

    Trust Yourself

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    So I was “let go” from my job in higher education almost a year ago. I have, indeed, been unemployed that long. I really didn’t think it would be difficult to find a new job, so I didn’t worry too much. Until one month rolled into the next and my “benefits” expired. I had in mind to do the things I never had time to do, so long as I didn’t have to grind away at a j-o-b I didn’t really like. Books to read! Certifications to pursue! Books to write! I even hung out my shingle to do some freelance writing/editing/whatever.

    And I did some of that. I did some transcription for a doctoral candidate. I wrote some blog posts about higher education. Then this thing happened. I finally got an interview for a good job in higher ed. The downside? Loooooooong commute. I mean, I’d be losing at least three hours every day just driving my car. To another state. As I waited to hear about a job offer, something else happened. My little freelance gig landed a really good contract. The same day I took that meeting, I heard I didn’t get that job.

    Honestly, I was relieved. I’ve enjoyed my time on various campuses in my career, the things I’ve been able to do, and most especially the people I’ve met, including coworkers, colleagues, students, athletes and those EMS management crews. But I didn’t want to go back! My kid decided on the military rather than college, so I didn’t need to stay to subsidize his education. What did I need to say for? Office politics? Campus upheaval? Life in the bubble? Nope. I needed to trust myself and make things happen. So when my client said, “It’s not exciting writing that I’m asking you to do” I thought WHO CARES?!

    You just told me I’m writing for a living, and doing what you love is worth everything.

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